What is a “Friend? My research yielded, “Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, they do everything they can to make sure you stay safe. They don’t care who is trying to harm you; they will defend you anytime, anywhere. If they can help you, they’ll do it without reservation or reward.”
Creating a Watershed of Caretakers
Friends of the Fox River (FOTFR) was founded by Pat Reese to be a voice for the Fox River.
The strategy was to empower the public to defend their river. By working for over 30 years to “create a watershed of caretakers” ours has become a powerful and collective voice. FOTFR relies upon our constituents to support our successful initiatives in advocacy, education, restoration, and research. Our strength is in our supporters, the Fox River’s friends.
Acts of Friendship
The support comes in many forms and FOTFR values all acts of friendship. Support comes through participating in a cleanup, planting native plants at our Bee Sanctuary, attending an event at the Schweitzer Environmental Center, sharing our social media messages, volunteering for field work, serving on a FOTFR committee, posting a FOTFR yard sign, attending a fundraising event, subscribing to a reoccurring monthly contribution, offering a donation, or participating through a business partnership, or workplace-giving through Earthshare. FOTFR thrives on our diverse network of supporting friends.
Fill the Tank
It takes fuel to run any ship. For FOTFR, much of that is human resources in the form of volunteers. The Board of Directors is very generous to us with their wisdom, wealth, and work. Our staff goes above and beyond the scope of their jobs to keep the ship moving. Several municipalities support us through service contracts for education and public outreach which assists them in fulfilling Illinois Environmental Protection Agency permit requirements. Although we provide all educational services to schools without a required charge, some parent/teacher organizations make donations. This year’s canoe being raffled to support watershed education was a donation from a friend. All the raffle and auction items for No Clean Water No Good Beer (NCWNGB) are coming from local businesses and friends. Grants, major donations, service contracts, and a few other sources combine to fund the multitude of FOTFR’s operating expenses.
Not just as a Member, but as a Supporting Friend
FOTFR is growing with the changing culture. Like many non-profit organizations, FOTFR has used annual memberships to count our supporters and their dues to support our operations. We are adapting that structure to replace “memberships” with “supporting friendships.” If you contribute to any of our efforts, we consider you a friend of the Fox River and you will receive member benefits. Support us however works best for you.
Education for Environmental Action
If you enter the Canoe Raffle (only a few days left), enter the photo contest, attend a clean-up, and/or attend NCWNGB you will earn friend status. As a friend, you may consider additional support through a reoccurring monthly donation. FOTFR is the leader in local watershed education; our Stewards of the Streams program reaches thousands of students each year and is provided at no cost to participants. FOTFR has plans to expand our reach through youth education to triple our geographic area.
For the Price of a Cup of Coffee…
Here is a translation of monthly donation impacts with our educational services.
$10 – covers a single student in an in-stream experience ($1/month)
$40 – covers a student for a full year of watershed education ($3/month)
$250 – a class in the stream ($20/month)
$500 – a class in the stream and 2 class visits ($40/month)
$1000 – an entire grade level in the stream ($80/month)
What your support as a friend does:
- Provides high quality environmental education: FOTFR’s stream education program extends far beyond what schools have the capacity to do. Now more than ever, teachers, families and community members are actively seeking ways to make up for lost time in hands-on, real world, experiential education.
- Restores the Fox River: 30 years of FOTFR cleanups have removed literally tons of trash from the river and its shoreline. This is important for community pride and to protect wildlife from entanglement, injury or death.
- Gives the Fox River a voice: FOTFR was founded to empower citizens to advocate for their river in their neighborhoods, with agencies, and through government process. We are creating a watershed of caretakers.
Together, we will Keep on Fixin’ the Fox.